Fish by Jose Andres (MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino, Oxon Hill, MD)


You ever been so excited to visit a restaurant and it turns out to be deplorable?  Yes! Deplorable.  The perfect word to describe this place.  Well, I wanted to use shitty, but unfortunately, that wouldn’t make me sound articulate.  I’m pretty sure there aren’t enough adjectives to describe how “shitty” this place is, so I’m literally going to pull out a thesaurus to help improve my English to describe my experience at Fish by Jose Andres.


Jose Andres, who was named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” and awarded “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation, has approximately 13 restaurants in the DMV (Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) and counting.  7 of his restaurants are literally within a 3 mile radius in Washington, D.C.  Over-saturated?  Maybe.  But, what are the chances you’re going to try different flavors within these restaurants?  Probably slim to none.  When a Chef is awarded prestigious awards more people flock to them, and are afraid to provide honest opinions because the “award” usually over-powers their opinion.  Well…. Welcome to where an honest, well-thought out, opinion is provided to one of his “Many” restaurants.


I decided to dine at this restaurant because I’ve heard a lot of “hoopla” around it and wanted to see for myself.  (Wait, let me go to my thesaurus) Shameful, Awful, Unworthy, are just some words that aren’t good enough to describe the food and experience I had.  Actually, those words would be a step-up from this shitty place.  Many people believe that when a restaurant is in an overall nice area, such as the MGM, it’s okay to not provide details about their overall experience.  They dare not to say anything bad.  They are “Afraid” to give an opinion.  You may here them say “Oh, this was good”, but never tell you what was good about it.


During my visit I decided to order four dishes that ranged from Red Snapper to Sea Urchin.  I’ll start with the Red Snapper, but not before I start with providing my opinion about the despicable (look another synonym) service I received.  Lack luster, inattentive, and distrait are just a few words to describe the staff.  I often think that because a restaurant is deemed “nice” by the masses, that service should go unnoticed.  Simple things as making sure water is filled, or that your meal shouldn’t come out before an appetizer, or that you shouldn’t have to stand up and gallop to a waiter(ess) to ask for your bill, or that your waiter(ess) says they’ll be back but you don’t see them for another 15 minutes, these are the things I pay attention to.  This is the human experience I received.

As far as food, I’ll start with the Red Snapper.  Whole Roasted Red Snapper, served on a damn cutting board.  You would think that a restaurant that charges over $40 for a piece of fish that’s $7 per pound at your local fish market, would be presented in a well-thought out manner.  Maybe.. A Plate?  That’s not half of the issue.  Burnt flavor, under-seasoned, not de-boned properly, are just some of the things that went wrong.  This was also visually unappetizing.  What could’ve been done better?  How about the bones removed from the fish, and prepared whole without it being split down the middle.  Was it split down the middle for the “Executive Chef” to make sure the “cook” took all the bones out before slapping it on a cutting board?  Who Knows.  If I can say one good thing about it, I can say it was meaty.  But for the price you pay, I expect more.  But I understand, rent needs to be paid, so that margin has to come from somewhere.


The next dish that was ordered was the Brussel Sprouts.  Vinegary, Unseasoned, Greasy, just plain ol not good.  Brussel Sprouts are already a bitter vegetable, and to not taste any kind of seasonings was a disappointment.  That’s it.  That’s all you get.  I’m not expounding on a dish, that the chef’s didn’t care about.


The third dish that was ordered was the Crab Macaroni and Cheese.  “This was the best Macaroni and Cheese dish that I’ve tasted in my life.”  Yes.  That’s me.  Preparing to say those words as I saw it featured on their menu.  I’d like to say that this is the absolute worst Macaroni and Cheese I had in my life.  Soupy, Runny, and Salty.  Sounds like a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, doesn’t it?  Well, the noodles that were used in this soup, were the EXACT same noodles that you would find in canned soup.  HOW DARE YOU USE MINIATURIZED EGG NOODLES AT A RESTAURANT OF THIS CALIBER AND SERVE IT FOR MACARONI AND CHEESE!!!  Who approved this shit?!  It’s so pathetic that I wouldn’t feed my worst enemy this non-sense.  I’m sorry you have to read this.  I’m sorry that they also think a dish like this is acceptable.  What could’ve been done better?  The price.  The type of Noodles.  The flavor.  Dignity.  Pride.  Those are all of the things that could’ve been used. (I didn’t open the Macaroni and Cheese pictured, but take my word for it)


The last dish that was ordered was the Sea Urchin.  This was an appetizer that came out five minutes AFTER my main course(s) came.  Uni, which has a creamy texture to go with an ocean flavor, was over-powered with green peppers and onions.  As much as I tried to taste the Uni by itself, the smell of the onions and green peppers over-powered my sense that this dish was not enjoyable.  I expected a creamy, fresh, and satisfying dish, but this dish was detestable.


Overall, this restaurant is by far the worst restaurant I’ve been to.  I’ve been to a lot, I’ve reviewed a lot, I’ve ate a lot.  This performance was sad, pathetic, and indescribable.  No words can describe how I feel about this restaurant, but I am sad.  The prices that are given, along with the quality of the items, and the lack of attention to detail that the staff provided is shameful.  A 1 out of 5 isn’t even a rating I would give this place.  If a negative number existed, then that would be appropriate.


5 comments on “Fish by Jose Andres (MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino, Oxon Hill, MD)”

  1. Can I just say I FULLY support this review! My family and I were there in January and were just as disappointed. Ended up trying the trout because they were out of snapper which ended up being nothing but bones. Best thing we had were the turnips. The pizza from the casino food court was better!


  2. That’s really unfortunate. I’ve been to two of his restaurants and had really good experiences. Could it be a licensing agreement…I mean it’s in a casino so he may have little to do with this particular restaurant. I guess I’m so passionate because he’s a decent human being too (see work he’s doing in PR). However, I WILL NOT be making a trip to this establishment. Thanks as always for you honesty.


  3. I, just like the gentleman above, have been to three of Jose’s restaurants (both within the SLS hotels). Bazaar on South Beach: great food, great service, weird atmosphere (tons of drunk and ahem under the influence individuals walking through from the pool parties). Bazaar Mar: great food, sub par service, amazing aesthetic. Baja Mar: great food, superb service, top tier views. Needless to say, I am disheartened to read your review, but am not surprised. It seems as though Chef Andres’ restaurants are popping up everywhere and with plans to expand his empire in Dallas, I am sure that his plate is getting rather full (pun intended). I appreciate your honest feedback.


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